Fellow athletes hoop it up for Unified Basketball team

Oct 6, 2022

MIDDLEBORO — The Middleboro High School Unified Basketball team played its first home game of the season against Silver Lake Regional High School in front of a packed and noisy house on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Much of the athletic department expressed their support. Every Middleboro team showed up to watch, and Middleboro Sachems cheerleaders greeted both teams before the game started.

Unified sports are run through Special Olympics and they “join people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team,” according to the Special Olympics website. Middleboro’s two unified teams, basketball and track, have been active for the past seven years.

“One of the things I love about these games is how you see our cheerleading team, our football team, our volleyball team,’’ said Middleboro School Superintendent Carolyn Lyons, who attended the game. “These kids really support one another, and it really does symbolize what it means to be a community.”

The team practiced for three weeks before its first game, according to Head Coach and Middleboro High School Assistant Principal Andy Dizel.

“I could not be more pleased with their hustle, their desire, and their eagerness to perform,” said Dizel. “Some of these kids are playing basketball for the first time, some have played their whole life, and it’s just great to see them out here playing together.”

The students in attendance made plenty of noise for the athletes, especially during team introductions and when players scored baskets.

“The whole community really embraces us,” said Assistant Coach Glenda Spillane.

Middleboro lost 34-26 but based on the enthusiasm in the gym, everyone was a winner.